Since the establishment of the Jazz and Heritage Festival in 1970, and because of its growth into a foundation with a free, year-round educational program, New Orleans has developed into an open university for musicians to learn from the best improvisers in the world. As Director of Music Education at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation, saxophonist Derek Douget takes his rightful place among the music’s greatest teachers, including NOLA legends such as Alvin Batiste, Ellis Marsalis, and Harold Battiste. As Douget told me last week, “I’m modeling myself on my mentors — trying to do for others what they did for me.” On Friday, March 19, Douget and his band will unleash the force of that tradition in all its poignancy and joy when their livestream event, A Night in New Orleans, makes its premiere online in a benefit for the Lobero Theatre.
Douget has become a familiar figure at the Lobero over the last several years, thanks to the organization’s Brubeck Circle. In addition to the livestream performance, Douget and his group have already released an enthralling hour-long video history of American music. With his crafty group of versatile players, Douget is capable of telling the story of American music from the earliest days of field hollers and work songs on up through the most sophisticated sounds of modal “free” jazz. On Friday night, and through March 21 for those who have purchased $15 tickets, the group will work through some of the greatest material associated with the Crescent City, including “Buddy Bolden’s Blues,” all of it in arrangements that are firmly planted in the present moment. For access to the livestream, and to support the Lobero, visit livefromthelobero.org.